Charles V: Holy Roman Empire

an overview of the problems facing Charles V in the Holy Roman Empire with control of the princes.

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  • Created by: Ruby
  • Created on: 03-06-09 12:39

Background to HRE

  • Stretched from France to Poland and Hungary, where germany is today.
  • Administartion: Ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor, who was elected by seven princes. There was a chancery, a treasury and extensive secretariat
  • It was difficult to impose control on such a sprawling empire
  • about 80 free cities who ruled themselves, and imperial knights who had no alliegance
  • 10 imperial leagues, which helpd mantain regional order
  • A parliament known as a diet was attended by knights, representatives from free cities and princes
  • Princes were secular rulers and often recalcitrant
  • The HRE was the secular protection of the RC church.
  • terrirorial princes wanted more power
  • Charles was chosen because he would be too busy to take control
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How and Why did Charles' relations with his subjec

The Imperial Reform Movement

  • Creation of more unity and therefore stronger
  • possible ppurtunit for new institutions of gov
  • However, princes would lose independe
  • 1495 maximillian had set up an imperial chamber court to be the supreme legal authority, but he feared losing control and the court failed
  • 1500 max set up a regency council in order to get money/troops. This to failed
  • PARADOX: reform may benefit the HRE, but emperor would lose power to princes.
  • When charles became emperor reform was reformed again
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How and Why did Charles' relations with his subjec

The Wahl Kapitulation

  • election surrender
  • he had to agree to several terms, mainly about allowing the princes's to keep power:
    • had to agree to reform of imperial chamber court...more independence for the princes
    • had to agree to restoration of a regency council, which would be an instrument of the princes
    • agree to respect laws and customs of the HRE
    • agree not to employ foreigner
    • no foreign troops allowed
    • and keep German and Latin as the official languages.
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How and Why did Charles' relations with his subjec

Further reform

  • In the W Kapitulation, the princes asked for an imperial chamber court again. neither the emperor or the princes would give it cases to prevent it becoming too powerful, so it failed despite it's potential benefits.
  • 1521 charles was persuaded to reform the regency council. The emperor could appoint the chairman and 4 other members, the Diet the other 22.
    • It was an instrument of the princes
    • well meaning but undermined by imperial suspicions
    • princes had a lukewarm attitude towards it
    • Charles said it should only run when he was absent, so in 1530 he was able to repress it.
    • Afterwards he governed using traditional forms, diets and leagues.
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How and Why did Charles' relations with his subjec

Compact with Brussels

  • In the compact with Brussels, charles abdicated from his hereditary lands in favour of his brother. however, in the process he disinherited any future sons.

Ferdinand's First Regency(1521-1530)

  • He kept close links with the swabian league, using them to to crush the knights war in '22 and the peasants in '24.
  • After 1526 F's fortunes changed as he could no longer trust the knights and couldn't fight the schmalkaldic league
  • during his regency, the reform changed traditional political links, e.g the swabian league was neutralised
  • Charles failed to return or give strategic advice, whilst not allowinf f to develop his own policies
  • 1526 turks smasjed at battle of Mohacs, and F became more focussed on hungary,
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The Creation of The Schmalkaldic League

  • before Charles left in 1532, he obtained F's election as King of the romans(he won 6-1)
  • This alienated 3 princes; philip of Hesse, John Frederick (both protestant) and William of bavaria(catholic)
  • They were opponents of the hapsburgs and the Golden bull
  • 10 princes and 10 imperial cities immediately joined
  • William of B allied himself as did the kings of england,France and denmark.
  • 1534 the league invaded Wittenberg
  • 32-43 were the golden years as the diet divided
  • 4 out of 7 electors were now protestant.
  • Charles gained peace with denmark(1543) and france(1544)
  • 1545 the pope offered money and papal troops.
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The Schmalkaldic War 1546-47

  • Prorities that lead to war:
    • Imperial politics, it was important to gain control over the princes
    • Religion
    • Hapsburg Interests, security of the dynasty
  • Charles exploited weak spots;
    • Elector of Brandenburg was neutral
    • Philip of Hesse was a bigamist, and under threat of execution he was forced to be neutral
    • Maurice of saxony made neutral by playing on his family rivalrys
  • Charles won the war at the Battle of Muhlberg
  • However it proved counter productive because the scale of c's success alarmed the princes.
  • The princes resisted all his proposals
  • Maurice began forging an alliance with Henri II
  • Charles became depressed and tortured by his failures, regretted disinheriting his son, and by 1550 the brothers were in dispute.
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The Diet of Augsberg/ the brother's quarrel

  • Agreement- alternating Austran and spanish emperors- noone liked
  • Leagues to link states into circles all under the command of the emperor
  • 1551 augsberg agreement
  • 1552 Ferdinand blocked his nephew's election as 'coadjutor' king of Romans
  • 1555 Philip renounced all claim to KoR
  • The hapsburgs were open to manioplation
  • charles too spanish and Ferdiand would be too powerful
  • Issues behind poA wider than the renewed Turk threat. he also wanted to unite the thrones of bohemia, Hungary with the House of austria into the 'danubian monarchy'

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